The Hindutva Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s PR fell apart on Monday when Pakistan’s largest charity Edhi Foundation declined to accept ten million rupees ($180,000) donation for taking care of Geeta, an Indian Hindu girl, who cannot hear or speak, for 15 years.
“Abdul Sattar Edhi has thanked Mr. Modi and politely declined to accept his financial help (Rs1 crore),” Foundation’s spokesperson Anwar Kazmi said on Monday.
“What the Edhi family has done is too priceless to be measured but I am happy to announce a contribution of Rs10 million for their foundation,” Modi tweeted on Monday.
Geeta, 5, was abandoned by her parents in a train which came from Amritsar (India) to Lahore (Pakistan) over a decade ago. The railway staff handed the little girl to the care of Pakistan’s largest NGO welfare organization, Edhi Foundation, which runs several orphanages and woman homes in the country.
Being handicapped, Geeta became a problem at the orphanage. Foundation’s co-founder, Bilquis Bano Edhi, decided to take care of the girl at her home and raised her as a Hindu.
Earlier this year, after identifying an Indian Hindu family as her own through a picture sent by Indian officials, Bilquis Edhi took Geeta personally to New Delhi, where Geeta was greeted by Modi, FM Shushma Swaraj and other government officials.
But after meeting the family in the photo in person, Geeta refused to accept them as her parents. She told Indian officials she didn’t know the family.
On Tuesday, addressing a press conference in Karachi. Faisal Edhi, son of the founder of Edhi Foundation, Abdul Sattar Edhi said that the organization is strictly against accepting donations from governments. He pointed out that the foundation, in the past, had declined an offer from Japanese government to donate 100 Toyota ambulances. He suggested that Modi should use that money to help handicapped children in India.
The Edhi Foundation operates on Muslim charitable funds and Islamic obligatory Zakat money.
Bollywood’s 2015 hit movie, Bhajrangi Bhaijaan (watch a video below), produced by Muslim actor and producer Salman Khan, is based on a fictional Geeta story. Kareena Kapoor, wife of actor Saif Ali Khan plays part of a Hindu deaf and dumb girls raised in Pakistan. Saif Ali is son of India’s legendry Cricket team captain, Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (d. 2011) and Bollywood’s Hindu actress Sharmila Tagore, who took Muslim name Ayesha Sultana after marriage. The Hindu extremist have not forgiven her for converting to Islam even after 50 years. In a recent article, penned in her mother tongue, Bengali language, and under her Hindu name, in which she criticized Hindu religious intolerance citing Dadri village killing and terrorizing a Muslim family for eating meat – for which she was accused in an open letter of being a traitor.